For Immediate Release, May 20, 2008
Contacts: Dr. Bob Colonna, SVCRC, 208-784-8891
Carla Bassemeir, 208-682-3582
Dr. Gayle Eversole, 509-432-4864
Residents of the Silver Valley take back their Community
With flood waters covering the proposed toxic waste site at the Old Mission at Cataldo, citizens are picking up the pace to inform the public, parents and all those living downstream from the epicenter of the nations largest Superfund site of the contamination and exposure to lead and other heavy metals that will be deposited.
In 2007, members of the community living near the old Mission and the Silver Valley Community Resource Center first learned of plans by EPA and Idaho Dept. of Environmental Quality to build the site by reading a brief news article in the Spokesman Review. The article stated that the agencies had made a final decision to establish a 60 ft. tall, 600,000 cubic yard, 20 acre toxic waste site at the Mission exit. “This was another decision to exploit a community who already has five generations of families living with chronic lead poisoned illnesses,” said Barbara Miller who has been director of the SVCRC for the past 22 years and who grew up at the Mission and is well informed of the annual flooding and toxic pollution in the Bunker Hill/Coeur d'Alene Basin.
In a short time frame last summer a grassroots drive was initiated with the support of local environmental groups, Catholic and other churches, unions and affected citizens including the CD'A tribe to gather more than 700 signatures of those opposing the site. This forced EPA and IDEQ to halt the development of the site. At the same time the SVCRC succeeded in getting a review of the lack of public notification of the site by the EPA Inspector General's office this is presently underway.
“They think we are going to just forget the whole thing and go home”, says Carla Bassemeir who has lived in the Cataldo area for four decades. We can't do this and we are not going to” she adds. Carla is a mother, grandmother, grew up in the Cataldo area and is presently living away from her home because of the flooding. “We care about our children and we have been suppressed in speaking out about the cleanup and health issues all our lives, the Mission waste dump is completely unacceptable and will only spread lead and heavy metals around more and downstream to everyone along the CD'A river and lake”. “What is difficult to understand is that the two agencies are fully aware of the geological and health problems and are still doing everything they can to open the site for dumping, the community needs to heal”, says Dr. Gayle Eversole, board member.
A “Protect our Community” peaceful demonstration is planned for Sunday, June 1, 2:30 pm at the proposed Repository. “The demonstration is to oppose the toxic waste dump at this special, sacred tribal grounds and for anyone who cares about the health of their children and quality of life,” Dr. Bob Colonna, SVCRC consultant. Take the Mission exit to get there. An on line petition and more information can be found at www.silvervalleyaction.com.
Groups including CART, KEA, Center for Justice, Upper Columbia River Group Sierra Club, the Coeur d'Alene tribe and Eastside Road District all who have gone on record opposing the location are asked to participate or hold their own demonstration at the same time in their communities.
Press Release -
March 19, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact Persons: SVCRC, 208-784-8891
Dr. Gayle Eversole, 509-432-4864
EPA/IDEQ Moving Forward on Old Mission Toxic Waste Dump
Yesterday representatives of the Silver Valley Community Resource Center attended the CD’A Basin Repsitory PFT meeting in CD’A held at the Idaho Parks and Recreation/Fish and Game Room to bring the support of more than 1000 individuals and groups who oppose the establishment of a 19 acre, 600,000 cubic mine waste repository that individuals from Region Ten EPA and Idaho Dept. of Equality are working behind the scenes to establish.
SVCRC members became concerned when Terry Hardwood, Basin Commission director announced at the meeting that it was "a private meeting" and essentially anyone who opposed the repository being built would not be listened to. In addition it was also learned at the meeting that the two agencies only intended for a select group of individuals who were sent special invitations to attend the meeting yesterday.
Dr. Colonna, President of the 21 year old SVCRC when he inquired as to why the two agencies were deliberately leaving out affected citizens input was verbally insulated, shouted at, intimidated and threatened by the chairman to leave the meeting for speaking out in opposition for the repository. "I’ve seen this happen at other meetings, no wonder people become apathetic and don’t attend meetings", said Dr. Gayle Eversole, also a SVCRC board member. "EPA and IDEQ need to be upfront with citizens and not just the special interests driving the Mission Repository, she said. To create a toxic repository at a National Historic Landmark, very public recreational area, native American ancestral lands, wetlands, a well documented flood plain where wildlife, game and birds prevail in abundance is ludicrous not to mention the human health risk exposure to lead and other mine waste is non-negotiable and citizens have every right to speak out and be respected", she added.
It was also announced yesterday that IDEQ and EPA had purchased more property adjacent to the original 19 acres purchased by IDEQ last summer for $90,000.
Anyone wanting to find out more facts about the Old Mission Repository can contact the SVCRC office at 208-784-8891 or the website, www.silvervalleyaction.com and sign the online petition opposing it. The organization is pursuing legal action and an EPA Inspector General’s inquiry.